Dan Clayton can emulate Craig MacGillivray success at Harrogate Town - Weaver

Harrogate Town's Chris Hall
Harrogate Town's Chris Hall

Dan Clayton has rejoined Harrogate Town for a second time and boss Simon Weaver believes he is now ready to light up the league.

Clayton left Town in pre-season after not receiving assurances of first-team football from Weaver.

The 21-year-old headed to Skrill North rivals Gainsborough Trinity before being quickly snapped up by table-topping North Ferriby United on non-contract terms.

However, the left-winger made just one appearance at the Humberside club and Weaver has poached him back to the CNG Stadium.

Clayton, whose goal against Hyde famously put Town into the FA Cup first round in 2012, has signed an 18-month deal.

Weaver said: “It was in his character to go out and get some games. From talking to him, he now knows he can nail it at this level.

“He has a great chance of doing exactly what Craig MacGillivray has done and progress on.

“They are both local lads that are the same age, and they both have a chance to do great things in the game.”

Weaver allayed fears Michael Woods (ankle) would sit out the season, with a return possible next month.

Defender Leigh Franks and Dom Rowe are also nearing a return to match fitness.

Clayton could be involved in Town’s challenging double this week, when they host high-flying Hednesford Town before a trip to rivals Guiseley on Tuesday night.

Guiseley shocked Town on Boxing Day 3-2, when Gavin Rothery slotted home three spot-kicks, before the reverse was called off on New Year’s Day. And Weaver insisted he would warn his players to steer clear of giving away penalties when his side head to Nethermoor Park.

“These two games are great games to look forward to as a footballer and football manager,” Weaver added.

“Guiseley obviously have an experienced squad, probably the most in the league.

“We shouldn’t fear anyone. It’s about going there and playing with passion.”

Hednesford have been the surprise package in Skrill North this season. And sitting on 53 points, Rob Smith’s second-placed men are well positioned for a play-off spot.

However, Town thrashed Hednesford 3-1 back in December and the Staffordshire side have since lost influential forward Elliott Durrell to Wrexham.

Weaver added: “We did a job on them at their place and we will have to do the same again.

“I keep telling the lads that any team in the top ten could go on a run and get up there.

“Let that be us.

“This time of year is made for heroes to stand up.”